Morpeth men win cup contest

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Subject to any further results scrutiny, Morpeth Harriers’ Men’s squad won the Sherman Cup competition at the Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League meeting, held at Temple Park Leisure Centre, South Shields, on Saturday, writes George Patterson.

Not so fortunate, however, was the club’s Women’s section, who could only finish sixth in the Davison Shield competition, after only being able to finish in three of the five required age groups.

There were, however, some excellent Morpeth performances, notably Nick Swinburn, who retained his Sherman Cup Senior Men’s title, by once again inflicting defeat on his Elswick Harriers rival, Tadele Geremew.

Swinburn had beaten Geremew in the 2013 competition and did so again by breaking into a superb sprint effort in the last 50 metres that the Ethiopian could not counter, winning by a breathtaking second.

Morpeth Harriers won the Senior Men’s team on the day, which added to the club’s total tally. Nick was well supported by excellent runs by Lewis Timmins, fifth, and Thomas Straughan, ninth. Just behind Thomas in 10th place, also producing what the watching Jim Alder described as the club’s run-of-the-day, was Sam Hancox.

Other Morpeth Harriers Senior Men’s performances came from Jordan Scott (19th), Andrew Richardson (217th), Tony Holt (282nd) and Eric Adams (297th).

In addition to Swinburn, Morpeth Harriers also saw excellent wins by U13 Girl Holly Peck and new U17 signing Scott Beattie, and second and third places respectively secured by Emma Holt and Kieran Hedley.

Holly Peck won with nine seconds to spare over her closest rival in the U13 Girls’ event and led Morpeth Harriers to third team place, with further team support coming from Lily Heaton (29th) and Nicole Teasdale (30th).

Morpeth Harriers U17 Men finished second on the day, although they were led home by Scott Beattie, who also enjoyed a superb individual win by a margin of 13 seconds. He is still ineligible to count in team competition following his transfer from Gosforth Harriers.

Had Beattie been eligible, Morpeth would definitely have won this age group.

Instead, it was left to James Young (fourth) to head the club’s scoring count, being further supported by excellent runs by Jack Armstrong (10th) and Jacob Hopkins (12th).

Morpeth Harriers Senior Women finished as third team, being led home by Emma Holt (second), with supporting runs coming from Josie Cram (sixth) and Kate Chapman (53rd).

The Morpeth Harriers male contingent contesting the Sherman Cup were certainly having the better share of the spoils on the day, as they secured a team win in the U15 Boys’ event, despite new signing Taylor Glover who finished fourth, still not being eligible to count following his transfer from Blyth.

Just ahead of him in third place was Kieran Hedley, who was only 15 seconds behind race winner Max Pearson of Tynedale.

Completing the Morpeth scoring tally were Adam Shewry (10th) and Joe Dowd (12th).

Other Morpeth Harriers placings in this event came from Josh Burton (22nd), Connor Marshall (23rd), Jordan Hedgecock (27th) and Cameron Dick (31st).

Morpeth Harriers only other team results on the day came from their Veteran Men and Veteran Women who finished seventh and 15th respectively.

The men were led home by Paul Waterston, who was 12th overall.

Further scoring counts were produced by Rob Hancox (19th), and Alistair MacDonald (57th).

Other Morpeth Harriers Veteran Men in action were Steve Haswell (215th), Kevin Bray (235th), Les Cavill (248th) and Andrew Stephenson (352nd).

Morpeth Harriers Veteran Women were led home by Gwenda Cavill (75th), with supporting runs coming from Lesley Chapman (128th) and Sue Smith (129th).

The club can count itself very fortunate to win the Sherman Cup on the back of some excellent performances by four of the counting age groups in their male section, however could have been out of the reckoning on another day through the lack of turnout in their U13 Boys’ section, where only two athletes toed the start line.

Ross Charlton finished 10th, with Thomas Cunningham two places behind him, lack of a third runner could have proved costly, a factor which greatly disappointed team manager Mike Bateman, after earlier promises of turnout had revealed no show.

Bateman was more disappointed, however, by the lack of turnout from the club in the younger age females, who rendered themselves with a no-chance situation in the accompanying Davison Shield competition.

After promises of turnout, the club failed to finish as a team in the U15 Girls and U17/U20 Women’s section, where the athletes who did turn out fought bravely with very respectable performances.

Gracie Hufton continues to make very good progress in the U15 Girls’ section where she finished 20th.

Abby Sheldon and Charlotte Jewell did well to finish 10th and 11th respectively in the U17/U20 Women’s section.

In a competition where the club have always medalled on previous occasions, it was certainly disappointing to be let down by a few who did not fulfil promises made.

One area where Morpeth Harriers were subscribed well, however, was in the non-scoring U11 event, where the club managed to turn out a total of five athletes in the large field of 142 finishers.

The field in this event is now becoming so large that organisers feel forced to run separate races for Boys and Girls in future.

Bobby Stone appears to have recaptured his form by finishing a superb second overall and he only lost out on victory by the slender margin of one second.

Dylan Davies was ninth Boy in 12th place overall.

Next home for Morpeth Harriers was Rhiannon Hedley, who was 10th girl in 23rd place.

She is steadily making her way back to better form following a troublesome virus.

Other Morpeth finishers were James Tilley (56th) and Josh Adams (57th).

Morpeth Harriers athletes produced some excellent Park Run performances on Saturday at respective venues of Druridge Bay and Whitley Bay.

At Druridge, Ian Harding set new figures of 15m40s, which completely obliterated the previous course record of 16m35s set by his Morpeth club colleague Karl Taylor in August.

Second place went to Morpeth Harrier Mark Snowball, who clocked 18m27s, which was also a new best for him on the 5k circuit.

Meanwhile, over at Whitley Bay three Morpeth Harriers excelled.

Elliot Kelly was first over the finish line, although he was 13 seconds outside his best on the course with 17m00s, he was relatively happy with his performance.

Other prominent Morpeth Harriers finishers at Whitley Bay were Paul Brown and Vicky Gibbs, who were seventh and 10th respectively in 18m48s and 18m58s, which were both new personal bests on the course.

Vicky was also first female finisher, which effectively made it a double success for the club.

Three Morpeth Harriers could easily have been dubbed as the ‘Border Raiders’ on Sunday, when they achieved relative success in the Jedburgh Festival, running 10k and half-marathon events.

Richard Morrell won the 10k event in a season’s best 32m09s, by a four-second margin from club colleague Carl Avery.

In the half-marathon, exactly 24 hours after setting a new course record at the Druridge Bay Park Run, Ian Harding finished second to Polish International Patryk Gierjatowicz, posting a time of 72m26s.

Gierjatowicz won in a time of 70m43s and 250 finishers took part in the 10k, with 408 finishers toeing the line in the half-marathon.

The fourth and final races in the Morpeth Harriers Young Athletes Road Championships series, took place on the evening of Monday, October 20.

This time, it was the turn of the club’s U17 age group athletes to take on the 1.33mile circuit on Lancaster Park, and once again organisers and competitors were blessed with excellent conditions, with threatened rain and wind staying away during proceedings.

The two races saw some excellent performances, with new acquisitions James Young and Emma James, both formerly with Blyth Running Club taking the respective major honours.

Young won the U17 Men’s contest with 31 seconds to spare in an excellent 7m08s, the fastest championship time set on the course this year.

Second place and the silver medal went to Jacob Hopkins (7m39s) and third place and bronze medal went to another new acquisition, Jack Armstrong (7m47s), formerly with Wallsend Harriers.

Completing the U17 Men’s event was Sam Williams, who finished fourth in 8m36s.

James won her gold medal in the U17 Women’s event in 8m18s, the fastest female time set on the course this year, which gave her a 19-second winning margin over silver medallist Abby Sheldon (8m37s), who just managed to hold off the close attentions of eventual bronze medallist Charlotte Jewell (8m39s).

Fourth place went to Louise Brett (8m58s), with Lois Scott completing the event in fifth place in 10m54s.

All of the club’s Championship medallists will receive their awards at a special presentation, scheduled to be held at Marabini’s Restaurant in Morpeth on Sunday, November 23.

Morpeth Harriers completed their commitment to their Benfield Motor Group sponsorship on the evening of Monday, October 20, when they fully announced their Athlete of the Year Awards for 2013/14 at their clubhouse at Grange House Field, Mitford Road.

The top award went to U15 sprinter Sean O’Hara, who in addition to some outstanding track performances for his club, achieved Championship honours in the North East Outdoor and Indoor competitions, and made it to the English Schools Track and Field Championships, finishing an excellent sixth in the final of a highly-contested 300m.

Second place award went to North Eastern Counties Cross Country U17 Men’s Champion Nathan Cox and third place went to Ryan Green, who, throughout the track and field season, had posted a good number of personal-best performances in the U17 Men’s age group events.

O’Hara thoroughly and richly deserved his award according to his coach Eddie Hedley, because of his work commitment and dedication shown throughout both competition and training, in addition to his reliability when required to compete on behalf of both his club and the region.